Why pH Effects Nutrient Uptake In Medical Marijuana

Posted by Lee G. Leissett | 8253 views
By Lee G. Leissett


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Why pH Effects Nutrient Uptake In Medical Marijuana

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" Few hydroponic growers understand why the pH directly affects nutrient uptake. "

Hydroponic medical marijuana growers have heard of and probably seen the effect pH has on a plant’s ability to uptake nutrients (and therefore grow), but few hydroponic growers understand why the pH directly affects nutrient uptake. The pH range of your water, nutrients and medium all play a direct role in your plant’s ability to absorb macro, micro, secondary nutrients and carbohydrates. As with most important factors associated with hydroponic growing, the effects of pH can be seen in the building blocks of cellular growth: the proteins, amino acids and microorganisms. 

The Science Behind pH Effecting Nutrient Uptake

It is difficult for nutrients to enter the plant’s roots on their own because of a protective membrane around plant cells that make it virtually impossible for water soluble ions to penetrate. In order for the nutrients to enter the membrane they are carried into the plant via special transporters. These transporters are protein molecules that enter the cell membranes. It is these proteins that allow the nutrient ions to actually enter the plant cells. Every essential nutrient has particular transporter proteins that are responsible for bringing that nutrient into the plant. Proteins are rich in ionizable chemical compounds and makes their functions dependent on pH levels. There is an optimal pH range for each protein and therefore a corresponding optimal pH range for the absorption of every given essential nutrient. This is why we can determine optimal pH ranges for any particular plant species. Depending on the nutritional needs of a given crop we can determine the best pH range to accommodate the proteins associated with the particular essential elements. The ideal pH range for medical marijuana is 5.5-6.3.

Nutrient uptake is also determined by the beneficial microorganisms found in a plant’s rhizosphere or in the growing medium. These beneficial organisms need a consistent pH range to function properly. When pH strays from the desired range an environment that promotes pathogenic microorganisms or slows the processes of beneficial organisms will occur.

The Best pH For Growing Marijuana

As previously mentioned, in order for medical marijuana growers to maintain optimal nutrient uptake it is suggested to keep the pH range between 5.5-6.3. This sweet spot ensures your plants will receive every essential element and at the highest absorption rate possible. It also ensures a good environment for the beneficial microorganism activity in and around your plant’s rhizosphere. Without proper pH levels, growers limit their success and end up wasting time and money. Growers who maintain optimal pH ranges combined with quality nutrients and supplements can expect vigorous growth and bountiful yields that will live up to the expectations of the most rigorous of hydroponic gardeners.


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